An HGV ban for Farnham town centre could be in place by late spring.

It was approved by Surrey County Council’s cabinet at their Tuesday (January 26) meeting, along with £2.5 million to improve a road system “designed for horse and carriage”.

It is the first stage of a package of projects that aim to improve road safety and air quality in the town, including 20mph zones and the widening of pavements.

Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver said: “Farnham is a delightful medieval town that’s been plagued by air pollution and congestion.

“It was never designed to carry the volume of traffic through the town centre that it experiences.

“It does highlight the challenges in converting a road system that was designed for horse and carriages.”

Lorries weighing 7.5 tonnes and over will be encouraged to stay on the A31 and bypass the town centre. Mr Oliver said he hoped this would be in place by late spring.

He added: “As always with HGV bans they’re difficult to enforce until they’re included in the sat-navs that will automatically redirect those who don’t necessarily know the area.”

Edward Hawkins, a county councillor in Surrey Heath, responded: “As a frequent visitor to Farnham, we often walk around saying, ‘I wish something would happen here’ and it’s great to see that this is now going forward. It’s excellent news. I’m looking forward to going to the market with the work having started.”

A board was set up last year to direct the infrastructure programme, with input from Farnham, Waverley and Surrey councils, and South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt.

Longer term they are also looking at ways to improve Hickley’s Corner and remove HGVs from Wrecclesham village.

The cost of the programme overall is around £235 million.

* Find more coverage of the Farnham infrastructure Programme inside this week’s Herald.